Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Keeping a Series Fresh

Anyone who writes more than three books in a series inevitably faces one question: how to keep the series fresh. In a later post I'll discuss several possibilities, but today I talk about my current choice. In three books I've chosen to focus on Joe and his family, moving from the outside to the inside world. These are the personal stories about Joe Silva and the people he cares about most.

In Family Album, Joe meets and courts Gwen McDuffy. In Last Call for Justice, he confronts long buried but festering issues in his own natal family. And now, in Come About for Murder we see Joe as the parent of two teenagers when he takes to the water to teach his stepson, Philip, how to sail, a crucial skill he passes on just in time to bring down a killer.

Annie Beckwith is always ready to visit her hometown Mellingham, where her sister and brother-in-law live. When Deb calls her to come out to talk over a problem, Annie shows up on Friday afternoon as promised and watches her sister sail into the harbor. But something is wrong. Deb isn't on her boat and the other person doesn't know how to sail. So begins the nightmare of Deb's drowning and her husband's sudden death.

In the pretty coastal village of Mellingham Annie Beckwith struggles to come to grips with her sister's death. The authorities have declared Deb's death an accidental drowning and Randall's death a suicide. But Chief Joe Silva isn't so sure. When the owner of the marina where Deb's boat is dry-docked discovers signs of tampering with important equipment on the boat, Joe decides to take another look at what seemed an ordinary if horrible sailing accident.

Despite the dangers of the sea, which Joe and his family have always known well, he agrees to teach his stepson, Philip, to sail. The boy takes to the water quickly and easily, and Joe is proud of him. While the teenager explores the inlets and tides of Mellingham Bay, Joe investigates a web of relationships among Deb and Randall's neighbors.

If you know Joe Silva as the quietly competent chief of police of Mellingham, now you can get to know him as son and brother, husband, and father.




  1. Nice post Susan... very informative.
    Good luck and God's blessings

  2. Thanks, Pam. It's an ongoing challenge to keep a series fresh.

  3. Hi Susan,

    A good idea to show different facets to a main character. Well-developed characters do keep the series fresh.

  4. I hadn't thought about Joe as a family man when I began, so this has been a fun discovery for me also. Thanks for commenting.

  5. It helps to have a good cast of supporting characters that you can draw on for inspiration.

  6. Very true, Nancy. Fortunately, Joe has a large family and a number of friends and co-workers. Thanks for adding that.

  7. What a fascinating story! I enjoyed this so very much. Thanks for this.

  8. I'm glad you liked it, Alana. Thanks for posting.